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Individual business decisions

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1. To what extent can individual business decisions (as opposed to economic forces) explain deterioration in working conditions for many workers? By reading this case incident it seems to me that individual businesses have the poor economy to blame for the deterioration in their employees conditions. As the economy is not doing well that means that businesses aren’t doing well either. The businesses aren’t bringing in the income they have been used to therefore resulting in budget cuts for the business. When the business suffers budget cuts, the employees feel the pain as well as the consumer. Employees feel it in reduced hours, pay cuts. Businesses may also not be able to afford to fix broken air conditioning units or heating units in a timely manner resulting in employees working in hot or cold conditions. Of course depending on the severity of the heat or cold the business may also be forced to shut its doors until the unit can be fixed. Consumers feel it as increased prices of goods, fewer employees to help locate items or answer questions.

2. Do business organizations have a responsibility to ensure that employees have secure jobs with good working conditions, or is their primary responsibility to shareholders? After reading the case incident and contemplating this question, it seems to me that organizations do not have to ensure that employees have secure jobs with good working conditions. Organizations are primarily looking out for themselves; they want to make sure they still make a profit even in a downed economy.

3. What alternative measures of organizational performance, besides share prices, do you think might change the focus of business leaders? Business leaders need to give purpose and drive to their people, and most employees do not find these qualities in capitalizing on shareholder value. Finding meaning and purpose is a personal quest entrenched in a person’s daily work and experience, not in statements of purpose from corporate headquarters. Therefore, the context is important. Managing for top-tier Total Shareholder Return (TSR) will not give someone the meaning of life or work for employees. However, it is an influential method that can create and sustain a high-performance, nimble organization with high-quality growth. Most employees (as well as other stakeholders) are highly motivated to be associated with a company with such values and beliefs.

4. What do you think the likely impact of the growth of temporary employment relationships will be for employee attitudes and behaviors? How would you develop a measurement system to evaluate the impact of corporate downsizing and temporary job assignments on employees? I can’t see as how employee attitudes and behaviors would be exceedingly high for temporary employment positions. Everyone is feeling the hard times that our country is facing and temporary employment may be the only solution for some (or many). It doesn’t give a person a feeling of security knowing the job they are doing today may not be the same job they are doing next week or even the next day, especially those people who are trying to provide for their families. I would conduct a controlled experiment to evaluate the impact of corporate downsizing and temporary job assignments on employees. I would interview 10 full time employees, 10 part time employees and 10 temporary employees to be able to equally evaluate how employees are feeling about their current position.

Robbins, S.P. & Judge, T.A. (2013). Organizational Behavior. (15th Ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

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